Warren ‘Sonny’ Sharrock died of a heart attack at the age of 53 in 1994. At the time of his death, many writers noted that he had recently landed a contract with a major label (RCA) and was perhaps ‘destined for big things.’ In my opinion, these writers missed the point. Although Sharrock may not have been successful financially (as though that might be a primary motivating goal for any true artist), he was uncommonly successful aesthetically. Certainly, there are a few dubious moments to be found inside his oeuvre, but Sharrock produced several of the most mind-shredding avant-garde albums ever recorded.
“Premier among them is ‘Black Woman’. Originally released on the Vortex label in 1969, ‘Black Woman’ may be the universe’s first true statement of guitar skronk majesty. It also represents Sharrock’s first date as a leader and stands as the sole documentation of a band that well-understood the essentials of energy. Besides Sharrock’s explosive guitar, the band features the omni-directional percussion mastery of Milford Graves (then in the midst of recording ‘Love Cry’ with Albert Ayler), the gorgeous post-tongue vocalizing of Sonny’s then-wife Linda Sharrock, the sinuous bass presence of Norris Jones (later known as Sirone) and some of the most explicitly abstract piano work ever recorded by Dave Burrell.
- Black Woman
- Blind Willy
- Portrait Of Linda In Three Colors, All Black